This morning I had an interview in downtown St. Louis. While many people who live in the surrounding suburbs seem to consider anything vaguely within city limits to be “downtown,” when I say downtown, I mean “within a few blocks of the Arch,” just so we’re clear.
Anyway, downtown St. Louis is a decent little hike from our place in south city — I estimated at least an hour each way by bike. Given the time constraints with childcare, and the fact that I was not familiar with the destination building, in terms of facilities for making sure I was interview-presentable (nothing fancy needed, at least at this time of year, but a restroom to duck into surreptitiously to give things a once-over/make last minute adjustments to assure at least a semi-professional appearance is always helpful), I more-or-less resigned myself to driving. But the bike bug was still there in my head, saying, “Maybe . . .”
When Matthew decided to use a vacation day to take advantage of the amazing weather and get the garden started, planning to take Sir with him, the childcare situation changed, and I was no longer in a time crunch.
Further, if I took the car to my interview, Matthew’s trip to the garden would have involved his mom driving in to pick him up, and either my going out at the end of the day to get them, or her making another trip in at the end of the day. My biking and freeing up the car for him to use would eliminate twenty-plus unnecessary car miles.
The last thing to overcome was my trepidation at making [what I was guessing to be] a ten-mile one-way trip, when most of my recent bike trips have maxed out at less than ten miles round trip.
The solution? A bit of creative thinking, and a multimodal trip that involved car with bike rack, MetroLink (StL light rail system), walking, and biking before all was said and done.
Before heading to the garden, Matthew needed to swing by our old stomping grounds, the Salus Center, to pick up the seed potatoes he ordered, a stop that would take him very near the Grand MetroLink stop. The MetroLink, would, in turn, take me within eight short blocks of my final destination, a distance that I could easily walk or bike. For the return trip, I had the option of biking the entire distance, or once again taking MetroLink part way.
I chose the latter, disembarking with my bike at the Grand stop, and thoroughly enjoying the 5.7 bicycle miles on this crisp, sunny day. Turns out riding the entire way would have clocked in at just under 9 miles, so I still rode a good chunk of the way, which increases my confidence for future trips downtown.